Not knowing a ton about this band’s years active or history didn’t deter their 2017 issued debut CD, III, from breaking into my best of the year list. Check out my podcast (CGCM Podcast EP#22 – Best of 2017) with co-host Wally Gator….the disc hit his list too! My cohost even wrote a stellar album review: III (Album Review). Thanks to Dave Dillman and his M-Pre Party (an unofficial unaffiliated event held prior to Baltimore’s M3 Festival) I discovered Shokker. My pal Dave promised me this Chicago based female-fronted band was right up my alley. The man was bang on point! Flawlessly executed traditional (NWOBHM) metal with something extra thanks to Rachl Raxx Quinn.
Quinn can hit some fucking notes! I’ll say that. When I was younger I always used Memorex cassettes for my mix-tapes and dubbing. On the inlay card, there was always a picture/drawing of a shattering wine glass. I guess I’d even seen it on their TV commercials and vaguely recall the shattering wine glass come to life. Now I’ve just met the voice that I believe can actually do that! Is it live or is it Memorex? Nope, it’s Rachl Raxx Quinn and Shokker!
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the 2017 M-Pre (a sore spot with me)show, but Dave secured me a copy of the debut album and a Shokker t-shirt. After missing that, I was looking forward to catching Shokker‘s live show in two instances two weeks apart almost a year later.
The first chance came during my four day, four city “stalking tour” of Pittsburgh’s Lady Beast. You can read my full account of those experiences here: Stalking The Beast (On Tour With Lady Beast) (Concert Review). The last of the four days found me in Milwaukee at the NYDM Spring Bash Festival where Shokker had the set time right in front of Lady Beast.
SHOKKER at NYDM Spring Bash 2018
Shokker were absolutely everything I expected! And more! The album is great, but as seems to be most cases it’s the live act that is something to behold. The stage energy, flurry of motion and flare from guitarist Casey Tremont was something to watch. Bassist Jorey Guillermo showing a broad smile throughout the whole set, obviously happy to be up on stage. Seated in the back, hidden behind the cymbals Dan Dacz thundered away driving the songs forward. All the while Quinn‘s staggering vocal abilities were on full display. When the barrage, that included Ozzy‘s “Bark at the Moon” among the Shokker originals, ended Quinn matter of factly informed the crowd “you have just been Shokked!”
While the band tore down and Lady Beast began to set up Quinn manned the Shokker merch, which was only a stand of CDs. It didn’t take too long before the once full stand was void of any and all product. Expressing her delighted surprise at the flurry of festival goers clamoring for a Shokker CD, Quinn apologized for the sellout.
…two weeks later…
Having just witnessed Shokker two weeks prior at NYDM Spring Bash, I was hyped for this. Actually, I’d secured my attendance at M-Pre before Shokker was revealed on NYDM. Basically, I was headed to Baltimore and M-Pre for Shokker and Shokker alone. Of course, there was a stacked bill featuring other great bands but Shokker is my reason for being here. That’s a hefty draw considering I flew down from Toronto at 7am Thursday, May 3, 2018, only to return on a 6am flight back to Toronto less than 24hrs later! To make it worse I landed, reached home to drop my bag and off to work for a 10hr shift! Welcome to the craziness of The Meister. More folks need to make the effort to go see the bands you like, maybe not to my extremes, however. But buy the tickets, the merch…that’s how you support the scene!
Making my way stage front for the show, my surprise barely concealed noticing my good buddy Olivier from Sleazeroxx entering the venue! With both of us so busy, we have sort of lost touch with each other concert-wise over the last month or two. Good to see you my friend and let’s not wait until Helloween in Montreal as our next show. As the opening band of this 2018 event, Olivier and I situated ourselves front and center for the Shokker onslaught.
SHOKKER at M-Pre Party 2018
Chicago’s own smashed through a wicked set once again. The smiles and clear joy spread across Jorey‘s face. Guitarist Casey bouncing and flying around the stage, long hair whipping in a headbanging frenzy. This time I had a better visual on drummer Dan Dacz perched behind the kit. His facial expressions absolutely killed me as I was mesmerized watching him pounding away, totally in the moment. And Quinn…wow! I said it before and I’ll say it again now. That woman has a voice! Her strength filled tones are perfectly suited for Shokker‘s traditional metal outpourings. Check out the Shokker Facebook page to watch a video that was live-streamed of the entire set.
The setlist was a little different tonight and a real treat of new material slotted into the mix. The new tunes are incredibly strong. The anticipation for this forthcoming album is extremely high. I’m told the band is hoping for a late 2018 release if all goes well.
Making a drunken fool out of myself is somewhat of a specialty. And there were no exceptions tonight as I totally fanboyed out running around getting Shokker autographs on CD covers and the setlist that Rachl was kind enough to pass me at the show’s conclusion. I have been Shokked!
Thank you Shokker for both these great shows. You absolutely made the travel, expense and sleep sacrifice worth every moment! You just never know when I’ll pop up at another show…..but I’ll try to temper down the fanboy and not pester you as much!
Now let’s talk about some kind of Shokker/Lady Beast dual tour…..maybe add Substratum into the mix and get Savage Master headlining…I even know a music-themed brewery in Southern Ontario that would love to have a show like this…..there go my dreams running wild again!